COLUMBUS – With a swing that appeared effortless, the ball found its way into the left-center field gap for a double.
“He’s a monster,” a fan said. “That kid is just a monster.”
In his four years as a member of the Northern Burlington High School baseball team, Ryan Shinn has had his share of memorable moments. The Florida Gulf Coast University recruit has been as dazzling on the mound and in center field as he has been at the plate.
On Tuesday, the senior took another step toward reaching the 100-hit milestone and demonstrated why he’s also considered one of South Jersey’s top pitchers.
Shinn went 2 for 3 with double, while scattering five hits and striking out eight as the Greyhounds defeated Moorestown 10-0 in Burlington County League Liberty Division action.
The game was stopped in the bottom of the sixth inning due to the 10-run mercy rule.
“I was definitely pumped up,” said Shinn, who now sits at 99 career hits. “We definitely wanted to get a win and make a statement.”
Northern Burlington (4-1), No. 5 in the Courier-Post Top 15, lost twice to Moorestown (1-2) last season.
“It was huge,” said senior shortstop Tyler O’Dell, who went 3 for 4 with a double and two RBIs. “We all feel a certain way towards Moorestown because of the way it’s been the past few years.”
The Greyhounds’ leader, Shinn singled and doubled in his first two at-bats. His leadoff double was part of a six-hit, six-run third inning which gave the hosts a comfortable 8-0 cushion.
He had an opportunity to collect No. 100 but flew out to end the inning as the team batted around.
“The past three or four games, I’ve felt good at the plate,” he said. “I’ve been able to drive the ball and get it into the gaps. After I got the first two hits, I got a little anxious with that third at-bat.
“It’s not a big deal to me. Whether it happens next game or two games from now, it’s going to happen.”
Shinn was equally as effective on the mound, where he was never in any serious trouble. He had at least one strikeout in every inning and didn’t allow a Quaker to reach third base until the sixth.
That baserunner was then thrown out trying to get back to the bag after Shinn fielded a sharp grounder back to the mound.
“I missed a bullpen Sunday, so my pitches weren’t as crisp as I wanted them to be,” Shinn said. “But I had command of my fastball and got the curveball over when I had to. The changeup was there occasionally, but it was just a pitch to get them off-balance.”
“He wants to be above the level people say he’s at,” O’Dell said. “He’s the leader and he puts us at a different level.”
Northern Burlington coach Rich Doppler says it’s a combination of things that make Shinn so dangerous.
“There’s an old saying that hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard,” he said. “Ryan’s talented and he works hard. He’s the first one out here.
“He’s tough to beat. He’s one of the best pitchers I’ve ever had because you can’t tell if he’s throwing a fastball or curveball. His curveball is about 10-12 mph slower than his fastball and just drops. I have high expectations for him this year.”
For Shinn, being prepared is the key to success.
“It’s not all about in-season. It’s about offseason,” he said. “You need to train hard, get in the weight room; get your swings in, bullpens in. You need to be 100 percent ready to go.”
Reach Kevin Minnick at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @cp_varsity
N. BURLINGTON 10
• Player of the game : Ryan Shinn scattered five hits and struck out eight, while also going 2 for 3 with a double.
• Play of the game : Moorestown center fielder Zach Rausch made a diving catch on a fly ball to end the first inning.
• Well said : “It’s just hard work, being humble. My teammates are always there to help me out.” — Ryan Shinn on keys to his success.